Who Needs a Website?
Here’s the short list of who needs a website:
Yes, everybody. I work in digital media, and I need a website. My brother is a philosophy professor and he needs a website. And every company, you guessed it, needs a website.
Why? Because the web is where people go to authenticate who you are (and what you do), and serves as a first impression. Your website is the hub to your personal and business development, and fosters growth, networking, and branding.
If you say you own a business, but don’t have a website to point people to, you run the risk of looking like a fraud.
Today’s essential authentication tactic
Gone are the days when the web seemed “risky.” Now, NOT being on the web is the risk.
97% of Internet users in the U.S. now go online to shop for local goods and services.
People are surfing the web and researching brands online because they want more information on the company or person. They trust the web because it’s essentially a peer reviewed network driven by its users. (78% of consumers trust peer recommendations – only 14% trust ads.)
Having a digital footprint that matches your offline claims authenticates your business or purpose. It’s important because it allows you or your brand to connect with the people who are interested, and start developing trust.
Online, the things that are real and honest, float to the top. While things that are less honest or real sink to the bottom. Let’s use LinkedIn as an example. If you were to fraudulently publish you have web development skills on your LinkedIn profile, perhaps no one would endorse you for that skill, thereby publically rectifying your claim.
Your website is the thing that best authenticates your intentions, products, or services.
It also shows visitors how lively or up-to-date you or your brand seems. This is important because 85% of customers expect businesses to be active in social media.
When surfing the web, your site’s liveliness appears in several ways:
- People look to social media metrics (Twitter followers or Facebook fans) to see if there is a community that rallies behind a person, organization, or brand.
- They look to the “newness” of a site to see if a brand is vital and lively.
- And they look at star-ratings, user reviews, and testimonials to see if other people have enjoyed the product or service.
Depending on how you use it, your website can be your business card, your yellow page listing, your resume, or the front of your store or restaurant.
When someone lands on your page, you want it to make a positive, good first impression on the viewer. Researchers have shown it takes about 50 milliseconds (that’s 0.05 seconds) for users to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they like your site or not and whether they’ll stay or leave. So it’s important you make the visit a warm, welcoming, and positive experience.
Not having a website to usher visitors to your site or product, is like hanging a “we’re closed for business,” sign on your door for brands; or closing all your shades and curtains if you’re looking for a personal site.
If you’re looking to grow, network, make connection, and bolster your career objectives, it’s crucial you have a website available to allow those connections to happen.
How do you apply your website to your business?
There are many ways websites can augment a business marketing strategy. There are the obvious ones, like an ecommerce business can sell its products online. But there are other industries where the purpose of the site is less clear. Here are a few examples of how websites support various industries.
- You’re a business owner. Build a website to prove the existence of your business and post the products or services that your business offers. Post updates about sales or promotions to show that your company is engaged with online shoppers.
- You’re a lawyer. Try developing a personal branding page that showcases your strengths as a lawyer and features your picture so that site visitors feel a personal connection with you. People looking to hire a lawyer want to work with someone that represents their interests and aligns on matters of value, mores, and ethics.
- You’re a consultant. Drive business to your consultancy by showing up in Google search ranks. To do this, fill you page with keywords that power your site to show up for specific use cases that you fill.
- You’re in academia. Put your academic achievements, accolades, publications, and essays on your site. This helps people who’ve found your work, or want to know more about your work, discover what you do in one place. It also cross-promotes your various works.
How do you apply a personal website?
If you’re not looking to create a business webpage, perhaps you are looking to develop a personal page to showcase career highlights, resume things, or just to host your personal blog. There are an unlimited number of ways a personal site can take form, but here are a few go-to options.
- The resume page. This is the classic personal portfolio style page where people can digitally house parts of their working career. Designers can post portfolios, writers can link to articles or publications, business people can showcase deliverable or growth charts they’ve been instrumental in.
- The blog page. Another classic. Blogging’s been around for years, but with new online design templates, users can create a blog that’s representative of their personality and interests.
- The business card. If you’re involved with business negotiations, it’s nice to have a personal site that reflects the same stuff that you’d have on a business card. It explains where you work, and how to get in touch with you.
To sum up, you need a website. And so does everybody. With today’s online tools and resources, you can have a website designed and live in no time. It doesn’t need to be fancy, have spectacular features, or wow tech-geeks. It needs to exist to authenticate your existence and provide a good first impression to the people that matter to you, or the customers that want to find you. So start building..
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Jean has a background in journalism and entrepreneurship. She's currently a writer for Kapost, focusing on digital marketing, content marketing, and the state of the journalism industry. She can be found on G+ and Twitter using the links below.